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Spring 2015 at the Joan Mitchell Foundation

Joan Mitchell in her garden at Vétheuil, 1992. © David Turnley.

Dear Artists, Partners, and Friends,

Welcome to spring. This year brings a lot of new developments at the Joan Mitchell Foundation. As many of you know, I was invited by the Board of Directors to return to the Foundation in the new role of Chief Executive Officer, starting in January. I am very honored by the opportunity to further shape the Foundation’s vision and to be working again with this extraordinary team of people, both the Board and staff.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation has grown tremendously over the years, thanks to the broad vision of the Board of Directors, our previous director Carolyn Somers, the dedication of an amazing staff and the growing public recognition of the important role Joan played as an artist. 

We believe there is no other arts organization that works so completely and deeply to support such a diversity of visual artists. As we strive to communicate through our programming, the Foundation believes that support for artists must come in many forms — from the Art Education Program in New York city, to our work preserving the legacies of mature artists, to the Emergency Grant Program, to the Painters & Sculptors Grant Program, and finally later this year, in the launch of the Artist Residency Program at Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

And now here we are in the spring of 2015. We have a lot to share:

  • The Foundation has entered a new phase — we now have two new public programming spaces, the Education & Research Center in New York and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.
  • We are proud to be launching the Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné — a massive research project cataloguing all of Joan’s paintings.
  • We have announced a new program: the Emerging Artist Grant Program, which will award its inaugural group of recipients by the end of 2015.
  • The construction of the new onsite studio building at the Joan Mitchell Center will be completed late this spring, and in September we look forward to welcoming the first group of local, national and international artists. We cannot wait to share New Orleans with them, and them with New Orleans.
  • Finally, in 2015 we will be focusing on a strategic planning process, centered on defining how we support artists, specifically through the lens of our values of being artist-centered and intentionally diverse.

Through our work at the Foundation, we honor Joan’s legacy of generosity during her lifetime and the amazing impact of her work. Joan often opened her home and studio to artists to come and stay. She knew the importance of providing artists with time and space to take risks — to try new things and connect with new people and places.

Over the last few months since I began my new position, I have thought a lot about what is so extraordinary about this Foundation. I kept returning to the idea that the of the work of the Foundation is actually a very simple mathematical equation: one artist = many artists. One artist, Joan Mitchell, has made it possible for so many more to be supported in their work. Our job at the Foundation is to be that “equal”, to first recognize Joan and in turn recognize the thousands of artists Joan's legacy has supported and will continue to support.

Stay tuned for what is to come.

Christa Blatchford
Chief Executive Officer

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